Two-Brain Radio: CrossFit Memes With John Wooley

Two-Brain Radio: CrossFit Memes With John Wooley

Sean: 00:03 – Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. Today I talk with the man behind the most popular CrossFit meme page on Instagram, John Wooley. But first, are you a stressed business owner who’s working too much and still struggling to make a profit? Do you want to grow your venture and reach the next level? Two-Brain Business is here to help with a free 60-minute call. This is not a sales pitch. It’s just an opportunity for you to get real, actionable advice from an expert who’s built a successful business. For one-on-one guidance on how to take your business to the next level, book your Free Help Call today at John Wooley is the man who created and runs the CrossFit meme page “Make WODs Great Again.” We talk about how he got started, what makes a good CrossFit meme and what it’s like to meet the targets of some of his good-natured humor in person. Thanks for listening everyone. John, thanks so much for joining me, man. How you doing?

John: 01:04 – I’m good. How about you?

Sean: 01:05 – I’m doing well. People know your work, I think, better than they know you. So let’s get to know John Wooley just for a second. What do you do for a living?

John: 01:13 – I’m a banker, so I’ve been in retail banking now for, oh gosh, probably 15 years or so. I’m an executive vice president though, so I manage 17 branches here on the east side of Cleveland. A hundred employees. It’s roughly like one and a quarter billion dollars under assets, give or take changes any given day, but it’s a little over a billion.

Sean: 01:35 – How did you find CrossFit?

John: 01:36 – I got dragged into it like everybody else. So I was kinda freshly divorced, wanted to get in shape. I found P90x like a lot of people and was, you know, doing the pull-ups and push-ups in my living room and, you know, lost a bunch of weight, didn’t put on much muscle. And a buddy of mine had actually started a gym here in Cleveland, CrossFit Distinction. And I just ran into him at our kids’ soccer game and he’s like, “Hey, you should come try this. It’s just like P90x but harder.” And I’m like, yeah, OK, whatever pal, I thought I was like pinnacle of fitness, you know? And, so I went in for this intro WOD and it literally destroyed me. Like, it was the most humbling, horrible moment of my life. Like literally the coach is yelling at me, I’m standing in the door like trying not to puke, she’s shouting, “don’t go home,” you know? And you know, I’m just one of those people that I don’t believe in letting things beat you. So I’m like, well, I’ll just keep going back until I master this. And you know, nine years later I figured out it’s impossible to master, but I keep going back.

Sean: 02:39 – Yeah. I tell people it doesn’t get easier. You just get to do more stuff.

John: 02:42 – Yeah, exactly.

Sean: 02:43 – How did it help you, you know, not only in the fitness realm, but also, you know, personally?

John: 02:48 – Ah, well, I mean, the community is huge. You know, I’ve built so many friendships over the years through it. I mean, that’s probably the biggest piece. And, you know, the other thing, I don’t talk about it much. I reference it some on the page, but you know, just like kind of emotionally and you know, physically it helps me work through— it’s the only hour of the day that I don’t worry about work. I don’t worry about my kids. I don’t worry about anxiety or depression or anything. Like the world goes black and all I’m focusing on is not dying during that WOD, like that’s it. And so for me it really is, it’s an outlet. Like it allows me to escape from all of that. And then, you know, there’s always the, you know, the benefit of the friendships you pick up over the years, kind of mutual suffering. You know, I compare it to the military, you know, like you go to war with somebody, you have a bond for the rest of your life and that’s kinda what it feels like.

Sean: 03:40 – How did a guy who is in professional banking start the most popular CrossFit meme page?

John: 03:49 – Who the hell knows? You know, it was weird. You know, I’ve always had a sense of humor. I had a blog for a while that I was writing and it was moderately funny, but, you know, there weren’t a lot of people reading it. My daughters have always said I should be viral. The think I’m hysterical for whatever that’s worth. Right after the election I had started this Twitter feed called CrossFit Trump. I thought it’d be really funny to do CrossFit tweets in the voice of Trump, for a number of reasons, number one, you can say some really horrible things and get away with it and blame it on Trump. And, you know, I just thought it’d be funny, you know, so, you know, my plan was I’d talk about, you know, building a wall and doing wall balls on them, you know, stuff like that. And, so I did that for a little while, picked up six, 700 followers. I started trolling my coaches, which I thought was funny, but you know, again, I wasn’t picking up followers. And then, around Christmas time a year ago, my daughter’s like, you know, Dad, you need an Instagram page. Like memes are funny. You could do memes. And so I handed her my phone and said, all right, have at it. And so she created this Instagram page, still called CrossFit Trump. And I didn’t do anything with it. It picked up two or 300 followers, but I barely used it. And then Regionals came around and Kayla Banfield, do the hashtag Update Show and we’ll post your meme. Well, it was during Regionals, it was a the Australian one, the Pacific, is that right? And so I did one of oh, who was it? Rob Forte and Jay Crouch. They had this picture where Jay had his hands behind Rob’s chest and it looked like that Janet Jackson photo from the Rolling Stone cover from years ago. And so I did a side by side and said, “Who wore it better?”

John: 05:38 – Next thing I know it’s on the Update Show and I picked up like six or 700 followers, like overnight from that one, you know, repost on the Update Show and then, you know, Jay and Rob both reposted it and I figured out very quickly, man, if you can get, you know, kind of notable people to repost you, you pick up followers. So for a few weeks there I started just tagging every athlete known to man and making memes about them, and you know, they all kept reposting them cause I guess they thought they were funny. I went from zero to 10,000 followers in like a month. And from there it was just kinda game on. I don’t know, I just kept doing it. And for me it was really always about the community. Like, you know, getting messages from people all over the world. And that was a lot of fun. And you know, the more it grew, the more I had an opportunity to do something with it. So it was kind of a crazy ride and just keeps going.

Sean: 06:32 – What do the people that you work with think about your little side gig here?

John: 06:36 – Not all of them know. I mean, they know, you know, like I had to tell my boss once I was going to Santa Cruz to interview Greg and he’s like, “All right, who’s Greg? Why are you doing a podcast?” You know, trying to explain it to him was like trying to explain to an Alaskan what a pineapple looks like, you know, it was just hard. They think it’s, you know, just kind of a fun hobby I guess. They don’t pay it much attention and I’m glad they don’t, to be honest. I try to separate, you know, my CrossFit life and my work life as much as I can.

Sean: 07:07 – Where do you think that your talent for putting together such funny memes comes from?

John: 07:15 – Well, I have an exceptionally funny father. My grandfather was really funny. I told someone the other day, it’s a weird super power, man. I can just look at a photo and just like think of a caption. You know, I’ve always been creative. I was a musician in college, studied music in Nashville for a number of years and, you know, music was kind of always my outlet, you know, playing guitar and writing songs and all of that. And so I think I’ve got a creative streak that’s kind of never-ending, for whatever that’s worth. This is a good outlet for that because you know, I just consume a lot of media anyway. And so as I see things that I think they’re funny, you know, if they’re relatable to me, I just assume they’re relatable to everyone. And you know, it tends to work out that way. I don’t know where it comes from, though. It just kinda happens, like it’s all day, every day. I tell everyone it’s ADD and coffee. That’s all it is.

Sean: 08:13 – You sort of touched on this a little bit, but what makes a good meme?

John: 08:16 – Well there’s a number of things. Typically you have to have like a funny picture, you know, and it’s really interesting to me how people will get triggered just by a photo. I was actually looking at a different meme page today, Fluffy Duck, who’s a buddy of mine and he had a picture of Trump on there and people were going all in about, you know, don’t be political; well there was literally nothing political about the post, nothing except that Trump was the subject, you know? And so I think you have to have a photo that’s either funny or edgy or creates some sort of thought. So that helps. And then I think the biggest piece, so it has to be relatable, like something that people either universally do or they see, you know, just something that they have done or experienced. I think those are the things that I typically look for. And you know, having done CrossFit now for nine years, I’ve kind of seen it all, you know, like a good example is getting a rash from doing AbMat sit-ups too fast. You know know, I’ve done so many of those, AbMat actually created an AbMat for me and put my logo on it, I swear to God.

John: 09:24 – But that’s a relatable thing. Like, you know, how many times have you gotten in the shower, not even thought about it, and all of a sudden it feels like you got a bee sting, you know, that’s just relatable stuff. And so I think those are two elements. The third one though, I think you have to be willing to piss off part of your audience. I think that’s a very important piece though. You have to—the best humor to me is humor that makes you think. It might be offensive, it might not be offensive. Or you’re not really sure, but it makes you think, and that’s all I’m trying to do is just, you know, create some conversation.

Sean: 10:01 – So along those lines of being willing to upset your audience, we live in a world of social-justice warriors and people who are easily triggered. How do you deal with that and avoid that kind of controversy?

John: 10:11 – I don’t avoid it. It is hard though because people are offended by almost anything. So I look at the page as a gift, like it’s a real gift to create conversations. So I’m not trying to steer someone to believe the way I believe. Like I don’t think that’s my mission for the page, but I do think I have an obligation to throw topics out there and have people talk about it. You know, a really good example of that would be, you know, the whole uproar that happened at a Holmberg’s gym a month or two back. I created that. Unintentionally, I might add, you know, I got a message from a follower that said, hey, our gym is outlawed booty shorts for women and men have to wear shirts now. And you know, they sent me the whole post that the gym had sent in and it really kind of was slanted against women. And I have two daughters and you know, so I felt kind of an obligation to women just put this out there. And so I did a couple of memes about it. I didn’t look to see who the gym was. It didn’t look to see who the gym owner was, which in retrospect maybe was a mistake. But next thing I know I’m getting, you know, messages from Morning Chalk-Up that they want to write an article on this. And you know, you go into the comments of the memes themselves, I mean, and there were literally thousands of people talking about it. And so it wasn’t my opinion whether they should or shouldn’t. It was, you know, really sparking that dialogue in the community around whether they should or shouldn’t. And that for me, that’s the real obligation of the page. Can I create that conversation that’ll help us all come together or at least talk about some of the issues that are out there.

Sean: 11:45 – How do you decide where the line is as far as poking fun at something is concerned?

John: 11:49 – Well, so I have rules for the page, they’re self-imposed. I never sexualize athletes ever. That’s a hard rule for me. I try not to make jokes about race, religion, sexual orientation, creed, national origin. Like, you know, those don’t typically go over well. It’s hard to understand sarcasm through written texts without hearing it, you know, so like I’ll say things on the podcast that are way edgier than I would ever put on my page because they can hear the inflection in my voice and they can tell I’m joking, you know, and so I think that’s important. I don’t know. I mean, it’s, you know, my line and your line may be different, you know, like I’ve routinely—like I’ve got these patches I sell that say “make WODS gay again,” as an example. And I cleared those through OutWOD, like I reached out to Will, who’s the founder of OutWOD, and said, hey, here’s the slogan I’m thinking of. What do you think? He actually changed the slogan for me and gave it the stamp of approval. But every time I post it, I get a message from somebody telling me they’re unfollowing or what a jerk I am. You know, so there’s a line everywhere for someone, you know, and so I don’t worry about that much anymore. I just, you know, I just want to stay true to my values and truthfully, I just want to make people laugh, so I’m not trying to, you know, drum up a lot of controversy, although I do that some, I’m really just trying to bring people together, have some fun, you know.

John: 13:14 – The other thing that I do is when I’m making fun directly of an athlete, I try my best in the comments to talk about how much I respect them. Cause I think that’s important. Like, you know, I make fun of Vellner a lot as an example, you know, I’ve probably made about a million ginger jokes. What people don’t know is I come from a long line of gingers, like I’m pasty as the day is long. Right? And I got nothing but respect for this guy. I mean, you know, he’s been putting himself through college and competing and he’s just an absolute beast. And by the way, one of the funniest humans on the planet, like just a genuinely good dude. Right? So there’s no world in which I would want anyone to think I think less of him. So when I do those memes, I try to put something in the commentary of, you know, what a great athlete he is or, you know, how he’s extra good at putting on sunscreen. I don’t know, it could be anything, but, you know, I just try to make it appears as if, you know, I respect them because I do.

Sean: 14:05 – So along those lines, what’s it like meeting the athletes who are often the objects of your memes?

John: 14:11 – Oh, they’re great. They’ve all been great. You know, I ran into Fraser. Fraser is the funniest one. He’s my favorite story actually. So, I knew I was going to see him at the Arnold in Columbus, you know, big bodybuilding event, but he was there with Rogue and you were there, I remember that. And so I did a meme, you know, prior to going there and I tagged him in it. And the meme was a wrestling meme where one guy’s body slamming the other one. And the caption was, you know, when Fraser meets me at the Arnold or something, and he straight up DM’d me. Like I’d never talked to him before. He DM’d me and he’s like “Absolutely not, I love your page,” it’s all it said. So I run into him there and he was signing autographs and his time had wrapped up and so he was leaving, but he saw me, and to his credit, the guy’s a real gentleman. He was like walking down kind of the rope line, like taking as many pictures as he could before his time was up and he saw me, like pointed at my shirt and he came over and I’m like “Hi, I’m John with Make WODs Great Again,” he’s like, “I know who you are, F-ing love your page, man,” and then took a photo with me, you know, and that’s a pretty common reaction from the athletes. I mean they all seem to have a really good sense of humor of it. And truthfully, I think there’s a part of them, a significant portion of them that appreciate the press that I’m giving them. I mean, they’re all trying to build their own brand. They’re trying to get sponsors. I’m trying to help them with that, of getting their names out there and giving them that recognition and I think they understand that.

Sean: 15:41 – We’ll be right back with more from John Wooley, the man behind Make WODs Great Again, after this.

Chris: 15:46 – Hello my friends. It is Chris Cooper here. Since 2009 I have been writing daily blog posts, producing podcasts, videos, all kinds of stuff on social media with one mission in mind: to make gyms profitable. I came to that mission because I was an unprofitable gym owner. It almost ruined my finances and almost ruined my career, my marriage, everything. And since that day, since I made my recovery, I have wanted to help other gym owners become profitable, too. It’s part of my mission to the world because if you’re profitable, you’ll be here changing lives of thousands of your clients for the next 30 years. I think together we can have a tremendous impact. When we started mentorship, I did every single call myself. I was doing up to a thousand free calls a year and I was doing 10 calls with people who signed up for our early mentorship program, but the Incubator has been updated and improved a dozen times since then. Now the Incubator is really the sum of all of our experiences with over 800 gyms worldwide. In the Two-Brain mentorship program, we can now learn from everybody. We can collate data, we can see what’s working where and when and what the new gold standards are as they emerge. When somebody has a great idea, we can test it objectively and say, “Will this work for everyone or will it work for people on the West Coast or on the East Coast?” We can do that with little things like Facebook ads. We can also do that with operations and opening times and playbooks. All the questions that you have about the gym, we can answer them with data and with proof now. That’s the Incubator. It’s more than what I wrote about. It’s more than my experience. It is the best standard in the fitness industry, period. And I hope to see you in there.

Sean: 17:29 – What’s it like kind of being a CrossFit celebrity now?

John: 17:32 – It’s so weird. I just tell people I’m you. They’re like, are you that guy? I’m like, yeah, I’m Sean Woodland. Nice to meet you. I get my voice as deep as possible. It’s weird. So here’s the best thing ever. So I’ve been telling these stories to my daughters that I go to these events and usually like the Games, I took a couple of hundred photos at the Games, like any Sanctional I go to, I’m kind of getting harassed by people and I love it. Like that’s not a complaint. It’s super fun meeting people and hearing their stories. But we had a local competition here at my gym a week ago and I wasn’t competing, but I had a buddy that was working out there and so I wanted to go see it and I had my daughters with me. And they’re 17 and 15. And so we go rolling into Cliffside. I’m only going to be there for a minute, I walk in the back door, place is packed. It’s like shoulder to shoulder and we’re keep in mind this tiny little gym, this is not a big place. And so I come walking in and I hear this girl go, oh my God, you’re that guy. And both of my daughters’ eyes turned into like saucers and this girl comes over. She’s like, can I please get a photo with you? I love your page, you’re the best. She’s got her arm around me. She’s handing her camera to her friend. Both my daughters are like, what the hell is going on right now? I just turned to my youngest. I’m like, I told you I was cool, baby girl. She’s just shaking her head like, I can’t believe this is actually happening in real life.

John: 18:52 – So, you know, that part’s pretty funny. But for the most part. It’s great man. I love meeting people. I love hearing what they’re doing and you hear so many inspirational stories about how CrossFit has changed their life. You know, and truthfully like, it’s really humbling to have people tell you that, you know, they stand around and look at your stuff and like you’ve made a difference in their day and you know, so that part is, you know, it’s humbling and fun and exciting and, you know, I don’t know. It’s great.

Sean: 19:22 – What does a typical day of working on your page look like?

John: 19:25 – Depends on the day, but really, it’s not that hard. I get up in the morning, I spend about an hour in the morning, me and my cat Bean, we sit on the couch, I drink a coffee, he hangs out. And I just kind of scour, you know, social media or you know, photos or whatever I maybe have an idea for that day and just put together kind of the daily content. I can, you know, put out eight to 10 within that hour pretty easily. And then I’m kind of set for the day and then, you know, followers will send me stuff. And a lot of that’s funny. A lot of it’s not, but a lot of it is. They’ll send me photos. And then I dunno, as things happen I’ll create things as well, you know, so like when there’s notable news, you know, things coming out of CrossFit or whatever, I’ll create and it either posted immediately or save it for later, just, you know, kind of however the spirit moves me. I’m, I don’t want to say cursed, but I’m going to go with blessed to have one of one of those minds where I’m just like, when I see something, I can remember it and I’m almost always like creating in my mind, whether I’m physically doing something or not, I’m like kind of always creating. I did one the other day on like literally on my drive to Cliffside I was going to work out, and it was right after Jeff Cain had resigned. And so I had in my mind I was going to do a meme about Hunter getting a wildcard CEO spot. And so I’m working it out in my brain and I’m driving so I can’t photoshop while I drive, you know. But I had that thing completely worked out in my mind by the time I got there and you know, so I skipped the warm-up and put together a meme, which was awesome on double fronts.

Sean: 21:09 – Sounds like time well spent. What memes do people seem to enjoy the most?

John: 21:13 – You know, it depends on—it’s funny, you know, the things that I find really funny tend to bomb and the things that I think are just like totally dumb, they just blow up. You know, I think they find the relatable stuff, the things that they can tag their friends or coaches in, they really like, like that’s the thing. Like, if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times from followers, they’re like, oh, we stand around after the workout and we all look at your stuff together. And I think it’s that together piece that’s most important. Like they want to be able to say, oh, you do that and you do that and oh, this is me, you know, and so it’s just the things that they see themselves. Now, there’s also a mean streak. Those work too. You know, I did a whole bunch about the Garard brothers when that went down, and people tend to really like those kind of in the moment, but they’re not funny long term. The other thing they really like, like when the Open comes, I was joking with my daughter yesterday, she was like, are you gonna get busier during the Open? I’m like, the Open’s like free candy. Like everyone’s watching, you know, it’s like you’ll see, you know, everyone’s YouTube hits go up. I’m sure your stuff lifts, like, you know, more than it normally is. I just kind of happens, you know, so you could do anything during the Open and typically get a good response.

Sean: 22:34 – What kinds of things have you been able to do thanks to the popularity of your page?

John: 22:38 – Oh, I’m really excited about the future. So you know, I’ve been, number one, kind of the initial stuff I’ve been able to do is give back to charities. And so that part I’m really excited about. You know, I’ve got several patches and some things that I’m selling that I’m donating the money to. I’ve got a Wounded Warriors group that I donate money to, OutWOD, I donate money to them. I’ve got a new one that we’re going to launch here shortly, all the money’s going to go to Barbells for Boobs, so breast cancer research. And so being able to do some of that is really cool for me. And then, you know, like, I’ll give you an example. Like a follower reached out to me. I think you guys might’ve done something too. There was a woman who had, if I remember right, like cervical cancer and they were putting together a video for her and they were like, hey, could you help us? Would you mind doing a video? I’m like, not only would I not mind doing a video, I’ll start reaching out to my followers and get videos for you. And I bet I got a dozen Games athletes to send in, you know, like a 30-second to a minute clip. And, you know, I don’t want credit for that. I think the beautiful part of that is the community coming together. And so being able to like kind of wrangle the community together to help this woman who’s got cervical cancer have a brighter spot in her day. It’s like, you know, it’s just, it’s really, it’s humbling. It’s hard to put into words. Like it’s just, it’s also a responsibility, you know? And so it’s just given me a lot more avenues to have a bigger voice. And then now, you know, I’m starting to, you know, launch into the—I’ve got my own podcast I’m doing, you know, some YouTube stuff that’s coming up, you know, down the road. So, just continue to grow and hopefully, you know, keep the community informed.

Sean: 24:21 – Why did you venture into the podcast realm?

John: 24:24 – People were asking me to, that was the kind of the first thing. People were like, you know, they were almost harassing me. Like they wanted to hear my voice to some degree, which it was a little scary for me, but it’s been a lot of fun. Again, I love listening to people’s stories and I wanted to do something different that on all these fronts that isn’t being addressed. Like, you know, I’ve said forever, you’ve got, you know, you and Tommy that have the news cornered, like nobody’s beating that. My opinion. You know, you’ve got the YouTube channel, you’ve got the Buttery Bros, like nobody’s going to beat what those guys do or what Team Richey does. I don’t want to do any of that. Like I wanted to talk to the people on the podcast that weren’t getting covered, like the affiliate owners, and you know, people that are helping solve Type 2 diabetes and you know, I want to talk to athletes but I want to hear their normal stories. Not hey, you know, I can do a triple back flip while doing a 200-pound thruster. Like, I don’t care about that. I know you’re strong. Like how did you overcome injury? Like how do you balance work and raising kids. Like that’s the stuff that’s interesting to me and having those conversations. That’s really why I wanted to do it. It’s just to, you know, get that voice out there and you know, have some normal conversation with people.

Sean: 25:42 – You mentioned earlier that as part of your podcast you got to interview Greg Glassman. What was that whole experience like for you?

John: 25:48 – I could talk about that for an hour. Well, you know, it’s funny looking back on it, I don’t know how you guys feel about your own, but for me, like I look back on mine and go, man, the episodes now are so much better than that first one. I think I asked the guy like four questions and he talked for an hour and a half, but also I’ve come to understand that’s pretty common for Greg. So I don’t feel bad about my poor interviewing skills. It was, you know, he’s very dynamic. He has a almost like a cult of personality about him. Like, and I love the guy, so none of this is a complaint. You know, I think he was super nice to me and you know, outgoing and just gave us nothing but time. And you know, I can’t complain at all. But he just has a way about him, like almost like an aura that you know, you just get drawn into. And so it was really interesting to see that. It was interesting to see kind of the inner workings of headquarters and how other people respond to him. And you know, I’m also one of those people though, like, you’ve got to prove to me what you’re doing. So he’s, you know, talking to me about keto, and, you know, carb restriction and all the things he’s talking about and my brain just going a million miles an hour of like, yeah, well I’m going to go see if I can prove you wrong, buddy, or at least see if you’re right. Like, you know, I don’t just buy into everything you tell me. But it was great. I mean, you know, he was great, super nice to us. You know, I’m not sure I’d change a thing.

Sean: 27:11 – You’ve mentioned to me before that people ask you all the time about, oh, how much money you make off the off the page and that this is sort of a labor of love for you. First off, do you have plans to change that? And if so, what are they?

John: 27:22 – Oh, I’m raking in the millions. Yeah. So, you know, I’m really fortunate, I’m fortunate to have a really good job that allows me to build this the right way. I would love to go full time and make this an actual career maybe 24 to 36 months from now. But what I don’t want to do is do it at the expense of, you know, hawking products that my, you know, followers and the people that trust me don’t have any interest in. You know, I want to build content, I want to build a community, you know, that takes followers to do that. And so I’m really, right now I’m just investing time to find the content that’s important to people and get that out and just continue to bring on more followers. So I, you know, I sell some merch here and there, I’ve got a few T-shirts and some patches and stuff that I do. I honestly don’t take it very seriously. It’s, you know, the only thing I’m trying to get it to do is fund the money I’ve spent to trademark the logo, pay the lawyer, build the website, like all that takes money and it takes a lot of money, come to find out. And then, you know, I want to go to the Games and Sanctionals and whatever. So, you know, if I can break even and get all that done for a couple of years, I’m totally fine with that. I don’t, you know, money doesn’t mean anything to me right now. I just want to build a community. But, you know, at some point I’ll flip that switch and find ways to monetize and take it full time. But, you know, I’m a banker, like, I know how to do the math. It’s gonna take a few years, you know?

Sean: 28:47 – Final question. What keeps you going on this every day, day in and day out and being able to keep it fresh?

John: 28:53 – Honestly, it’s the followers. I mean, you know, I get anywhere from 200 to 400 DMs a day easily. You know, it’s kind of a ridiculous number. I try to answer all of them if I can. You can’t get to all of them, but you try to. I love talking to people and hearing about what they’re doing and their struggles and what makes them tick, and you know, I want to give back to them and truthfully, like CrossFit has done so much for me. I tell everyone, CrossFit saved my life. Like I truly believe that. Like it took me out of a divorce. It made me healthier. It helps me fight anxiety and depression. It’s helped me be a better dad. It’s helped me with any number of things. And so I feel an obligation to give back to that. Like, you know, I know Greg doesn’t care about that at all. He doesn’t want that, that recognition. But truth is like, I feel like I need to give back to this community that has given me everything. And it’s fun. I mean, that’s the biggest piece, is it’s a hoot man. Like, and I get to talk to you and seriously, like, you know, I’ve seen all these people for years. All you guys, you, Tommy, whoever, for years, listened to shows and now I’m getting to hang out and talk to people and make friendships and you know, it’s really a blast. So it just keeps me going.

Sean: 30:12 – Well, I will tell you this, and I think I’ve told you this before, but so everyone knows it, when we kind of all found out that we were getting fired from HQ, your memes and this was back in the CrossFit Trump days, kinda got us through a lot of that. So we certainly appreciated that. And it was always nice to have someone that we felt that was, you know, kinda on our side a little bit. So thank you for that.

John: 30:32 – Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny, you know, I’ve heard that a couple of times from other people and I hear that on other memes that I do and I think that may be part of what keeps me going is that, you know, you start to find out that your impact on people is far bigger than just being a smart ass, you know, it actually means something to someone and you know, that’s really touching.

Sean: 30:51 – Yeah. Well John, thanks a lot, man. I appreciate you taking the time to do this. Best of luck with the page and can’t wait to see what you’re putting out today, tomorrow and the weeks to come.

John: 30:58 – All right. Thanks so much.

Sean: 31:02 – Big thanks to John Wooley for joining me today. And just in case you’re wondering, yes, we do kind of look alike. His page on Instagram can be found at @makewodsgreatagain. He also has a podcast, he talked about that. It’s called Make Pods Great Again, you can find that on Apple podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and wherever else you listen to your favorite podcasts. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or a seasoned business owner, “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” by Chris Cooper will show you what to do and how to avoid mistakes that can sink a business. Reader and gym owner Brendan Collins says, quote, “If you’re a business owner in the service industry, you must read this book.” Get your copy of the bestseller “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” on Amazon today. See you next time, everybody.


This is our NEW podcast, Two-Brain Marketing, where we’ll focus on sales and digital marketing. Your host is Mateo Lopez!

Greg Strauch will be back on Thursday with the Two-Brain Radio Podcast.

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:


To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
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Breaking the 150-Client Barrier

Breaking the 150-Client Barrier

The Class Ceiling Effect


“Every time our membership reaches 150 people, we drop back to 130!”

“We hover between 110 and 125 members. We never drop lower, but we never seem to reach higher, either.”

“We’ve been at the same membership for 2.5 years even though we get new people almost every month!”

There’s a simple reason you reach a maximum member limit and can’t break through.

It’s not them: It’s you.

Here’s the real problem, how you’ve created it and how to finally smash through that Class Ceiling Effect.


The “Icon” Problem


Each of us can maintain around 150 interpersonal relationships. After 150, we start forgetting their kids’ names and their Fran scores. We simply can’t spread our personal care any further. This is called Dunbar’s number. Into that 150 people, we have to cram our families, friends, staff and clients.

Every client is a relationship that must be managed. If that relationship is a personal one with you, then you’ll never get above 150.

But if every client has a relationship with your brand—independent of the client’s relationship with you—then you can grow to far larger than 150 clients.

A relationship with your brand means your clients don’t care who owns your gym. They don’t get upset if one of your coaches leaves because they know they can depend on the same excellent service from any coach at your gym. And they don’t measure the value of your gym by how much time they get to spend with the owner.


You’ve Made This Bed


If you’re the only person who talks to your clients between classes …

If you’re the one who explains every rate change or starts every conversation in your Facebook group …

If your name is on every greeting card and your face is on every video and your caption is on every social post and your byline is on every blog post …

… you’ve gotten yourself into this.

Here’s how to get yourself out:


Create Redundancy


Your clients should receive the same excellent care even when you’re not there, right? If they don’t, you simply don’t have a business.

That means you have to create systems to replace you and then teach those systems to other people.

For example, every coach should deliver to the same level of excellence. Every coach should be replaceable with another of your coaches. And you should have a relationship “safety net”: a CSM who maintains every client’s relationship with your brand.

(Need a full job description for the Client Success Manager role? Click here.)

Many military leaders say, “Two is one and one is none.” They’re talking about redundancy: always having a backup for the stuff that really matters. Your clients’ relationship with your brand matters more than anything else. Are you really going to put that fragile little bird into the hands of your least-likable coach?


Shift Coaches on Purpose


If a client can’t work out with another coach, then how can that coach ever take a vacation?

If you make the largest mistake of all—referring to a client’s personal trainer as his or her “coach for life”)—how will you ever keep that client when the coach leaves or retires?

It’s in everyone’s best interests to occasionally have clients work with other coaches. I don’t mean a full schedule shuffle every six months. I mean this:

Personal-training clients should do at least two sessions with a different coach each quarter.

“Hey, Maria, I’m out of town next week! But I have a treat for you: I’ve asked Paul to meet with you at your regular time and coach you through your workouts. I’ve shared your future programming with him, and I know you’re going to love hearing someone else’s voice in your ear for a change! But I’ll be back the following week and I’ll stay in close contact with Paul while I’m away.”

Groups should be exposed to other coaches at least every few weeks.

“Class, I am super excited for this: Coach Paul will be here tomorrow! Paul is an expert in weightlifting, so I’ve asked him to spend some extra time working through your second pulls and finishing positions. You’re going to love him, and I’m going to be jealous that I’m not here! Have fun!”

And even nutrition clients should be exposed to other nutrition coaches.

“Aarav, I have something special for you. I’ve asked Coach Jennifer to meet with you during our scheduled appointment time next week. Jennifer is a real specialist in nutritional diversity; I’ve asked her to help you expand your diet while sticking to your goals. I want to make sure this plan is something you can stick to for life, and that means never getting bored with your food—or with me! Haha. I’ll meet you again in the following session!”

The key in shifting coaches is to tell the client how it will benefit him or her.

“I’m going to be away on vacation, here’s a replacement” doesn’t tell the client anything.

“Here’s a free special bonus just for you!” does.


Push the Spotlight Away


This is one of my wife’s favorite stories about our gym.

After a full week away talking to other gym owners, I returned to my beloved Noon Group on a Monday. I burst in at the last minute to find the group already in a big circle doing some calisthenics. I hopped into the closest spot and got warm. Robin was across the circle from me.

When the coach said, “Everyone come over here and get a stretching band,” the woman on my left turned to me and said, “Hi, you must be new here. I’m Sarah. Welcome!”

Robin laughed. I was struck dumb—but then I was thrilled because Sarah was having a great time at my box even though she had no idea who I was.

If Sarah had joined my box between 2008 and 2013, she would have seen me every single day, probably teaching her class or leading her 1:1 sessions. I’d made myself redundant. The great clients were finding my box, fitting into my box and loving my box without me.

And that’s when we broke through the barrier.

When the spotlight was no longer on “Chris Cooper, fitness coach,” people started to love the other coaches at Catalyst. People started to brag about Catalyst the gym, not Chris the trainer. They started to bring their friends to CrossFit Catalyst instead of 1:1 sessions with Chris or Mike.

The more I bragged about Coach Mel or Coach Charity, the more clients came to train with them. We all benefitted: the gym, the coaches and the clients. Because let’s face it: I’m not the best coach for everyone, and I never will be.

There are around 150 people who want to train with ONLY me. There are around 1,500 people who like me but just want to see me around. And there are over 15,000 people in my little city who want to get fit, have never heard of me and don’t give a damn about me personally.

But they can still come to my gym.

There’s room because I’ve removed the ceiling.

Need more advice on common problems? Click here to book a free call with a certified Two-Brain Business mentor.

The Island of Misfit Toys

The Island of Misfit Toys

How (and Why) to Say No to Great Ideas

You can’t do everything. But you have ideas.

In the Founder Phase of entrepreneurship, you’re busy. You’re delivering your service. In the tiny cracks of daylight between coaching clients, eating and sleeping, you might eke out some time to work on new ideas. These could be:

  • Making a new schedule.
  • Adding a nutrition service.
  • Selling more PT.
  • Designing new T-shirts.
  • Reorganizing your schedule.
  • Thinking about adding a kids program.

Which ones should you pursue with the very limited time you have?

In the Farmer Phase, your staff brings you ideas. Some of them are really good; and you want your staff to feel important and empowered. You have more time, but the way you invest your time is even more important because the outcome affects the whole team.

Which ideas will leverage that time best?

In the Tinker Phase, your potential partners pitch you ideas. Now you have to decide between great ideas and amazing ideas. The best choices are less obvious. Most of them will make you money, but all of them will take your attention.

Which will you invest your focus into?

In the Thief Phase, you’ll have to consider the needs of your community. But no matter how large your platform, you’ll never be able to fill all the gaps.

How do you decide what kind of contribution to make? How will you invest your legacy?


Focus and Focus Some More


I get pitched great ideas every week. And I have some good ideas myself (if you don’t believe me, look at my list of 70+ domains that I’ve registered on GoDaddy). But I can’t do them all. As my mentor, Dan Martell, once told me:

“People do this stuff because they don’t trust that their primary thing is going to be awesome. They lack trust in their own ability to execute on Plan A.”

In other words, we sabotage ourselves because we don’t really think our first idea is going to work. Instead, we all need to focus on one idea at a time.

But how do you stay focused? How do you overcome FOMO on a new idea? How do you stay the course when new ideas are super exciting?


Send Your Toys to the Island


In our businesses, we put our great ideas on a list. We call that list, “The Island of Misfit Toys” (the term comes from my favorite Christmas cartoon).

When an idea goes on that list, it means “I like this. I want to do this. But not right now.

In his amazing book “Anything You Want,” Derek Sivers makes the clear point: You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. At least not right now.

Sivers’ point isn’t that you need to make a long list of “someday” projects. His point is that making a list will:

  • Get the idea logjam out of your head to make room for even more ideas (which you’ll add to the list, too).
  • Remove the distraction of fear (you’re probably scared you’ll forget your great idea unless you act on it now).
  • Allow the truly best ideas to shine through by attrition.

I’ve forgotten most of my great ideas. Sometimes I comb through my past lists (and my domain registry) and think, “What the hell was that?” And that’s OK, because it means my attention has been captured by even larger ideas and opportunities.

You don’t have to run at full speed all the time. Waiting for the right idea—at the right time—usually means you won’t miss it when it comes.

Which stage of entrepreneurship are you in? Take our 20-question quiz to find out and get the exact steps you need to take your business to the next level.

Two-Brain Radio: CrossFit Memes With John Wooley

Two Brain Radio: How Jill Glasenapp Turned $650 Into $8,400 Through Advertising

Mateo: 00:00 – Hey, it’s Mateo Lopez of Two-Brain Marketing. On this edition of the Two-Brain Marketing podcast, I’m talking with Jill Glasenapp of Cobra Command CrossFit. You’ll learn about her transition from being a coach to buying in as a full-fledged partner in the business. You’ll also learn about her advertising system and how in the last eight weeks, she spent $650 on ads and generated $8,400 in front-end revenue, so you don’t want to miss this. Make sure to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio for more marketing tips and secrets each week.

Greg: 00:32 – Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. We make gyms profitable. We’re going to bring you the very best tips, tactics, interviews in the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at

Chris: 00:48 – What makes a good gym website? The answer to that question keeps changing. Five years ago I would’ve said that you need this rotating banner image. Three years ago I would’ve said you have to have one splash page highlighting the benefits of your service. That’s true. The problem is that the benefits of your service change by the client you’re trying to target and so you need to be able to adapt. You need to be able to add your own landing pages. Your main cover page should reflect what your most important clients want. That’s going to be different from what my most important clients want. So a website that’s based on a template with the same kind of rotating image is not going to work anymore. I use For Time Design for the and Catalyst gym websites because those are the most important websites I own. I want responsive design that’s going to work well on mobile. About 60% of your clients are going to come through mobile and more in the future. I want a responsive designer, which means I can contact them to make changes and I want to know how to change my own oil. I want to know how to get in there and add my own posts. I talk a lot about content marketing and that means I have to know the medium through which I’m delivering my content. Using For Time Design has been my choice now for about three years because Theresa and her team are super responsive. She can answer questions for me, she can show me how to do it myself if I want to or she can do it for me if I don’t have time. She’s created a big series of videos for Two-Brain clients in our Incubator and Growth stages to watch so that they can do stuff like build landing pages themselves. A lot of website companies try to pull the curtain in front of their knowledge. They try to hold a lot of stuff secret so that they can charge you to do the basic things. Just like in car maintenance, changing your oil, rotating your tires. If you want to do that stuff, awesome. If you don’t have time to do that stuff, take it to the garage. Theresa at For Time Design gives you both options and she’ll even teach you how to do it yourself if you want to. I use that’s what’s made them an official Two-Brain partner is our firm belief in their commitment to helping first and a strong sense of service value.

Mateo: 03:02 – Hello and welcome to the Two-Brain Marketing podcast. This is Mateo Lopez, Two-Brain Marketing mentor, and I am here with Jill Glasenapp from Kansas City. Jill, how are ya?

Jill: 03:15 – I’m doing great. Thanks for having me today.

Mateo: 03:17 – Thanks for taking the time. We’re gonna talk with Jill. I’m really excited because she’s got an awesome campaign up and running right now. She’s spent a little close to, well, $650, a little bit more than that on her ads and she’s brought in 56 new members; almost $8,500 in front-end revenues. It’s pretty exciting stuff. I want to hear all about that. Before we get into that, Jill, for those listening, if you don’t mind, tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, and a little bit about your business.

Jill: 03:50 – I’m from Kansas City, Kansas. Not to be confused with Kansas City, Missouri. Actually it’s one in the same, but I actually have been CrossFitting for like 10 years. I was in the military and fell in love with CrossFit there and had this awesome opportunity when I moved to Kansas City to join the Cobra Command CrossFit team, which resulted in me kind of taking over business ops and then becoming a partner and co-owner and it’s awesome.

Mateo: 04:18 – Wow, that’s amazing. Cobra Command. I know you said your partner came up with the name. But do you know what the origin is?

Jill: 04:25 – Jacob Heppner, CrossFit Games athletes, goes to my gym and is kind of a comic book nerd as is my partner Vince. And together they were like, what’s a really awesome comic-book style name? And after looking at trademarks and all that kind of stuff, they settled on Cobra Command. And everyone here is absolutely in love. It’s like the best name ever.

Mateo: 04:49 – I could not agree more actually. It’s an amazing name. So how long has the business been open?

Jill: 04:56 – We opened our doors for Cobra Command in May of 2015. So we passed up our fourth anniversary here not that long ago.

Mateo: 05:04 – That’s awesome. And then were you a part of the staff in the beginning or when did you come into the picture?

Jill: 05:10 – So I joined the team in May of 2017 so right at their two-year mark. And I came in to coach and it did not take long before I was helping general manage and then literally within six months I was on as a partner. So it was a good fit. When something’s right, you just roll with it.

Mateo: 05:25 – Awesome. That’s great. What was that like, that transition for you from being on the staff side and then being rolled in as a partnership? Cause a lot of people end up forming partnerships or buy into existing businesses or buy existing businesses outright. So what was that process like for you?

Jill: 05:45 – So when I came on, my partner Vince, had a full-time job and Cobra Command was growing exponentially. We’ve been really blessed with organic growth for a long time. When I came on board, we were already at almost 150 members and now we’re a 200-plus member gym But, it was obvious that with the amount of members we had, we needed a more full-time staff. So initially when we did not have Two-Brain, we did not have the systems that we needed in place, because of my background, I knew that we needed to start moving in those directions. So I kind of naturally started doing those things. And then we started to formalize roles a little bit. And then when it actually came time for the partnership, I had just kind of been helping in the gym enough that it just was like a no brainer to kind of pursue that.

Jill: 06:36 – Vince and I went through the books together. We inventoried everything together. We negotiated, actually formally negotiated, a buy-in price, talked about sweat equity. That’s always a hard conversation for people when you’re going into a partnership. And both of us had sweat equity cause I did a lot of volunteer work to help get the business kind of up and running and obviously Vince did all the build-out to start the business. And thankfully we were able to come to a compromise that works well for both of us. And honestly like from the get-go, there was no change in how the gym operated because I had worked my way into the system at that point, which was awesome for the team. It was very seamless. What we did learn when we came on with Two-Brain is that me and Vince were way too nested in the business and weren’t working enough on the business. And that’s kind of the blessing that Two-Brain has brought us.

Mateo: 07:32 – So what was the impetus then for signing up for mentorship?

Jill: 07:35 – I had been on for about six months and knew that I had decent systems in place, but there had to have been more streamlined systems and I needed help with growing the business. So I knew that what we were doing in house was great, but I didn’t know how to get us to the next level. So we started researching and we looked at a number of different companies, but the values and the Help First mentality of Two-Brain is what led us there.

Mateo: 08:05 – Awesome. So you kind of spoke a little bit about it just now, but what was the real first change you saw after you started going through the Incubator and started—like what was the first big kind of lesson that you took away and were able to implement and see some changes?

Jill: 08:21 – So the very first thing that we did, roles and responsibilities. Like hands down the best—I would say that that’s the best part of Incubator period because it makes you break that out. That coupled with realizing that if I could not be cleaning and I could hire somebody else to clean and I outlined what I wanted that to be, I could make more money in that moment than if I was actually cleaning myself. That was huge.

Mateo: 08:49 – Yeah. The king-maker equation and figuring that out like, hey, like this is a $15 whatever-an-hour role that I’m filling, that if I outsource, I could be doing work that’s 20 an hour, 30 an hour, 50 an hour. I think is a really impactful lesson for a lot of people go through it. So that makes a lot of sense. That’s awesome. So tell me a little bit about the marketing for you. Prior to Two-Brain, you said you’ve seen a lot of organic growth. What was the outreach strategy before?

Jill: 09:20 – So I would say we did mainly affinity marketing, but didn’t know it was affinity marketing. So we did a lot of families. We’ve always had a really good kids program and that helped bring both parents kind of in the door. And then just, you know, word of mouth, like, people who liked us bringing their friends really was our organic growth. We did do some digital and social-media style marketing. But all we did was target interests. We didn’t really understand how to target our audience appropriately and get them in the door. So we would have people from like Washington, and we’re in Kansas, you know what I mean? Like react to our ads and we are like, OK, we need to get this more localized, we need to get this better targeted. And that was the very first thing that you guys helped us with for sure.

Mateo: 10:15 – That’s awesome. I want to talk more about that and what you worked on with Blake. But before I do, I just thought of something. So at your gym, you know, in your words, what is it that you sell and how do you sell it and who do you sell it to? Cause I don’t know much about the culture, but it sounds like if you have some pretty high-caliber athletes there, you know who is your market, who do you service and how do you form that culture and balance it with these high performers, with maybe the people who are not at that level.

Jill: 10:43 – So our mission is to bring health and fitness to as many people as possible. And that’s what we live and breathe. We don’t care what level athlete you are. And honestly, our main audience and who we mainly serve is women in their mid-thirties and forties range. And then, we use that to our advantage and try to get their husbands in and try to get their kids in. And it’s worked really well. We are very family centric facility. We offer childcare which helps draw a lot of people in that age range in. We also have a large military population here, with Fort Leavenworth, it’s literally about 10 minutes up the road from us. So that family kind of centric service is what we really, really focus on.

Mateo: 11:34 – That’s awesome. And the childcare that’s pretty clutch there. Not everyone has that. And I imagine that’s a big strategic advantage for you guys and your business. That’s great. OK. So then walk us through your paid advertising system. I mean, you sound like you really dialed it in. You’re getting, you know, three-dollar leads. So when the lead comes in, what happens?

Jill: 11:56 – So when a lead comes in, through our click funnel, they’re automatically sent to our UpLaunch system and UpLaunch has been absolutely amazing for us to help with lead management. So they’ll instantly get a text message, they’ll instantly get an email, even if they’re just a basic lead and they haven’t scheduled with us. Then within—well during the day, during our normal operating hours, somebody within hopefully an hour is our goal, will reach out, we will follow up with a text and then every day we make calls. We’ve had so many leads come in that I can’t call people immediately. I wish I could, that would be the game changer, I think. But we try to make calls once a day and call people. And actually that’s kind of been the game changer, I think. The people who are gonna come in our doors anyway schedule a No-Sweat right away.

Jill: 12:47 – The people who are on the fringe and answer their phone, we have a pretty high conversion rate of getting them in the door. Obviously we get a lot who don’t answer them.

Mateo: 12:59 – What’s your approach? Why do you think that is? What’s your approach once you get them on the phone?

Jill: 13:03 – So honestly our approach is that we follow the Two-Brain script for a No Sweat, like scheduling a No Sweat if somebody calls to schedule one. But we just tell people that we have numerous options and that we can work with any budget and that we can work with any goal. And that’s what I think really brings people in. And it’s the truth. Maybe our transformation, which is what we sell through our advertising isn’t right for you. If I can get you in the door, I can tell you what’s going to be right for you and I can point you in the right direction.

Mateo: 13:33 – Are you on the phone or do you have other staff on the phone?

Jill: 13:35 – Other staff on the phone.

Mateo: 13:37 – And how did you get people trained up to do that?

Jill: 13:39 – Role playing. Role playing is the best way to do that. And then obviously just telling people to jump in because like you just, the only way to really get over it is to do it. So me and my head coach do role playing with the coaches to train them up. We have two coaches that make most of our phone calls and we just pay them admin hours to do that. We role play them, bless them off, taught them a little bit about objectives, but not even—objections, not objectives. We didn’t even go super in depth with it. Just the normal stuff you’d hear on a phone call trying to set an appointment. And we’ve been doing great with that sense.

Mateo: 14:15 – That’s awesome. So, to clarify, you have coaches on staff who, to make a little bit extra, you pay them the admin rate to do these phone calls and lead nurture, correct?

Jill: 14:28 – Yup.

Chris: 14:29 – Hey guys, it’s Chris Cooper. If you’ve ever run out of money, you know that it affects every single corner of your life, all of your relationships, your business, even your self-worth. And so when I found a mentor in 2009, I said, I want to share this gift with everyone. Since then, I’ve been building and refining and improving a mentorship practice that we now call Two-Brain Business. We break our mentorship into several stages. The first stage is the Incubator, which is a 12-week sprint to get your foundation built, to get you started on retention and employee programs and finding the best staff, putting them in the best roles, training them up to be successful, and then recruiting more clients. It’s an amazing program. It is the culmination of over a decade of work. It’s also the sum of best practices from over 800 gyms around the world. These aren’t just my ideas anymore. What we do is track with data what’s working for whom and when, and we test new ideas against that data to say, is this actually better? Then when ideas have proven themselves conclusively, then we put it in our Incubator or Growth or Tinker programs. I just wrote “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” to define who should be doing what in what stage of entrepreneurship. But no matter where you are, the Incubator is your first 12-week sprint to get as far as possible in your business. We’re a mentorship practice for one reason: Mentorship is what works. We work with gym owners for one reason: Because you have the potential to change the world with us, and I hope you do.

Mateo: 15:57 – That is awesome. That’s great. OK, so the coaches are making these calls once they’re booked. I know you use UpLaunch, there’s a whole automated follow-up system there, but then what happens when they walk in the door?

Jill: 16:15 – So when they walk in the door, I have a team of three, myself, Vince, my partner, and then our head coach. Those are the only people right now who I have take No Sweats. And we greet them at the door. We ask them, you know, what do you know about Cobra? What do you know about CrossFit? Just kind of get a feel for that. And then we start a walking tour of the facility, but really it’s not a walking tour at all. It’s really us having an opportunity to walk and talk and learn about that person’s goals. So we have little touch points on our floor as you go through the building and certain cues that we want to ask people, you know, like what kind of goals do you have? If it’s weight loss then we always stop by the barbells and talk about resistance training and how great of a tool it is to help with weight loss. We ask about kids and family, what kind of job they have, what kind of hours they work just to get to know them, so by the time we actually hit the office, we have a pretty good idea of what their goals are, what’s going to be the best program for them and what other services in our facility they might be interested in.

Mateo: 17:19 – I think that’s really interesting and awesome because there’s a little bit of debate kind of in the sphere that we’re in where it’s like tour the facility, don’t tour the facility. Don’t waste your time, no one cares about your equipment, especially if you’re a CrossFit gym, you gotta like just sit them down. But I like how your approach, it’s part of the overall sales script where you have these identified points like, OK, when we reach the mats, we can ask them this icebreaker. OK, when we pass this squat rack, you know, you sprinkle in, you know, like you just said, you tie it into some of their goals. If it’s weight loss, well, strength training helps with weight loss. If it’s muscle gain, great. This rack will help you gain muscle, you know, you can kind of tweak it depending on what they’ve told you so far. And the walk and talk part, what you said was really, really awesome because yeah, it’s a way to break the ice and start to sell a little bit, but they don’t feel like it cause you’re not sitting down in that consultative setting. So I think that’s really, really, really cool. All right, so you get them into the office then and what happens there?

Jill: 18:26 – So once we’re in the office, we have our actual No Sweat sheet, which we’ve actually gone through about 90% of the questions at that point. So we just, if there’s anything that we lacked, we go in and make up that question. But it’s very conversation based. Then at that point we tell them like, hey, based on everything you kind of told me, here’s what I took away to kind of reaffirm that we have the right objective of the client. But then we tell them what we think, like, here’s what I think would be the best for you. And kind of start a two-way conversation with that. Cause some people, like sometimes people will tell me they have mobility issues and I’ll be like, hey, I think we should throw on yoga and just throw it out there.

Jill: 19:09 – And they’re like, no, nope. Not interested in yoga at all. OK, great. That’s a good conversation piece. But then we bust out our binder and start taking people through. But we only present what we think is a good fit for them. I know some gyms will take them through all the options. I don’t believe in that. I only present exactly what I want them to be interested in. And then I straight up ask, what do you think? Are we ready to sign up? And I pose it just like that. And most of the time we are able to close it.

Mateo: 19:41 – That’s amazing. That’s awesome. And obviously that process looks dialed in, I mean, 56 new members in the last, you know, less than eight weeks is pretty awesome. So that’s great. And how long did it take to develop that sales process? You know, and it sounds like you have three people who do it, you know, how long did it take to develop that and practice that and refine it?

Jill: 20:02 – So I would say that we obviously started developing the process when we went through the Incubator, which was a year ago, this September, we’re right at a year with Two-Brain. Honestly, we had a pretty decent system that was pretty close to Two-Brain’s prior to that, we just weren’t very good at asking for the sale. Right. And that was what we needed. I would say it took about six months to get where we knew exactly what talking points we wanted at what positions in the gym. And then, now, so probably January, February is when I think we hit our stride, but we only had two or three, No Sweats a week maybe back then. So now that we’re putting through 18, 20 a week, we’re very refined. I feel like we’re very—we can very much tell who we’re going to sell and what very early now. Which is awesome because it helps you just use that whole interaction to kind of shape everything.

Mateo: 21:02 – That’s awesome. And $3 leads, I want to circle back to that. So is your town small? Is it big? Where are you at? Do you have a lot of CrossFit gyms? I imagine you would. Kansas City is a pretty well-known place. What’s the deal there? What’s the story?

Jill: 21:16 – So we are actually in Basehor, Kansas. We are literally on the urban edge of Kansas City, Kansas. And in the area that we are in, we are the only CrossFit gym. We do have a CrossFit gym about 20 minutes to the north and about 20 minutes to the south. But we have about 200,000 in our area directly that are within a 10-minute radius of us. And that’s the game changer right there.

Mateo: 21:45 – Yeah. That explains it. If your CrossFit competitors are 20 minutes away and within your 10-minute radius, there’s already the population density of 200,000, that checks out. That makes sense.

Jill: 22:02 – We are also at the higher end, so we’re in the burbs of Kansas City. So we’re in an area where the residential area is a little bit higher income, which also helps us. Some of our competitors are not in that area. And obviously that changes their game a bit.

Mateo: 22:21 – Yeah. If they can’t charge as much as you are, whatever offer the one-on-ones and things like that. That yeah, if you’re able to charge, you can afford to spend more. And so it just, yeah, totally checks out there. Awesome. Well, maybe we have to cut this part out. We don’t want anyone moving into Kansas City thinking it’s a good idea to open a box. All right. Yeah. No one do that who’s listening. No one move over where Jill is. Awesome. So this is great. You’ve been able to come on as a part of an existing business, really help it grow, really, you know, take the reins and make some changes that have enabled you guys to grow rapidly. And the business has been around for four years already. So you’ve already got a lot of experience under your belt. What do you think has been the key to your success and the success of the team so far?

Jill: 23:16 – I would say that a big part of it is the team. It took us a while and we’ve had some transition finding the right team, people who understand our value, people who understand the importance of the client experience and helping clients. Not every trainer, not every coach out there has that in mind first. So it took us a little bit to build our team, but that is definitely what has set us apart and made us successful as we go. That coupled with, like I talked about earlier, our kind of family approach where it’s whole family fitness. We try to get everyone in and then honestly just developing tried and true systems that are efficient and keep the flow rapid, right. Like that keep it unimpinged so that they can, people can get through our system. They feel like they’re valued and feel like they’re getting what they deserve every day. Best hour of their day, right?

Mateo: 24:15 – I think that’s it. The happy place. That’s awesome. Thank you so much for coming on and taking the time. If people want to talk to you more, talk about Cobra Command, talk about comic books, talk about fitness. Where can they find you?

Jill: 24:34 – Yes. You can find us at or you can reach out to me directly at

Mateo: 24:43 – Awesome. Thank you.

Jill: 24:44 – Yeah, thank you. It was a pleasure to be with ya.

Mateo: 24:47 – Yeah, it was fun.

Greg: 24:52 – Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe to receive the most up-to-date episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. To find out how we can help create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at


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The Release Valve

The Release Valve

You’re under a lot of pressure.

Sometimes that’s good. Maybe, like me, you’re at your best when your back’s to the wall.

But you’re also a fitness professional. So you know what happens to an organism under stress. Hans Selye said it first:

“An organism under stress is in decline. Remove the stress, and the organism super-compensates. But maintain the stress and the organism continues to decline until it dies.”


Relieve Stress—Your Way


Every entrepreneur needs a release valve.

Some drink. Some cheat on a spouse. Some have other bad habits.

And some exercise.

Maybe, as a gym owner, exercise is your release valve. But more and more gym owners admit that working out in their gyms adds to their stress instead of relieves it.

I want to tell you: It’s OK to work out somewhere else.

You can go to another gym. Your members won’t quit.

You can go ride a bike. Your members won’t quit your gym to ride bikes.

You can work out in your garage. Your members won’t immediately quit your gym to build garage gyms of their own.

Last May, I walked into my gym for the noon group. I love the people in my noon group but had been forcing myself to attend for a few months.

On my way into the gym, I saw a coach’s lunch garbage spread all over the front desk. I was pissed; and then the class started two minutes late, with 10 people waiting around while one person tied their shoes.

When the workout started, I felt unmotivated. I was distracted by the work sitting in my office next door. I didn’t like the workout, and I was bored by the warmup. I started to ask myself why I was even there. That night, I dug out my bike. And I haven’t worked out in my gym since.

But membership keeps growing. None of my members said, “Screw it! I’m gonna go ride bikes with Chris!”


Self-Improvement Produces Business Improvements


If you’ve been a gym owner for a while, your gym might not be your release valve anymore. And that’s OK: It exists to be their release valve. You need a different one. As our resident psychotherapist says:

“Therapists need therapy more than anyone else because they’re carrying everyone’s shit around!”

Did my members ask where I was? Absolutely.

Did I plan to return after a short break? Definitely. But I haven’t yet.

Do I hate CrossFit? No way. I love it. I just love cycling more right now. It’s a tremendous gift to be able to choose between two things that I love.

To be a better coach, better boss and better human, you need to release the pressure. Some of that pressure comes from self-doubt; some comes from lack of clarity; some comes from guilt.

Go exercise somewhere else. You have permission. Come back happier.

Do all the right things for all the right people.

Including yourself.

Need more advice on common problems? Click here to book a free call with a certified Two-Brain Business mentor.


Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome

Who am I to lead them?

As a business grows, it adds staff. Ironically, this can leave the Founder feeling even more isolated.

By the time she reaches Tinker Phase, an entrepreneur can feel very alone even with a big team supporting her.

Promoted beyond the point of her own expertise, the Tinker tries to wrap her head around larger challenges than she’s ever faced. Each decision takes on great importance because it affects a larger team. And she’s dealing with sums of money she’s never seen let alone controlled.

It’s very common for a Tinker to feel as if she’s woken up in someone else’s job.

“How did I get here?” she asks. “Why me? I’m no more qualified than they are.”

That’s the impostor syndrome.

(Not sure if you’re a Founder, Farmer, Tinker or Thief? Take the test here.)


Beating Impostor Syndrome


Nearly every Tinker I’ve ever mentored has reported having impostor syndrome—even the alpha folks who own gyms.

At some point, even the most self-confident owner has wondered, “How did this all fall into my hands?”

Here’s how to beat it.


1. Realize You Don’t Have to Be Perfect

You only have to be slightly ahead of those you lead—and not always on a technical level. Your job as Founder is to be well rounded. But good hiring means that you replace yourself with “pointy” people: those folks with a deep (but narrow) field of expertise. They’re specialists. You’re a generalist. If you know more than your tech-support team, they need more instruction. Your job isn’t to be the best shoemaker anymore. It’s to motivate and calm the team, tell them inspirational stories, and provide a vision for the future.


2. Fake It Till You Make It

One of the benefits of joining higher-level mentoring groups is that you have to do the stuff they do. When everyone else in the room is a millionaire, you spend the weekend doing millionaire stuff—you dress better, eat better, have higher-level conversations about money. By the end of the weekend, you think like a millionaire. Our Tinker program has group meetups for this exact reason: It’s millionaire immersion.


3. Ask Everyone in Your Mastermind Group if He or She Has Ever Suffered From Impostor Syndrome

I can guarantee over 80 percent of them did.


Off the Map—and Where You Belong


Our school system teaches us that there’s always an answer (and only one answer).

But in business, there’s rarely only one answer, and no one will give you a big checkmark when you need it.

That means we feel like we’re “wrong” when we don’t know the answer or what to do to get that answer.

But that’s leadership: By definition, you’re working in unmapped territory. By definition, there is no right answer.

And by definition, you’ll feel like you don’t belong.

But you do.


Need more advice on common problems? Click here to book a free call with a certified Two-Brain Business mentor.